THE United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, on Tuesday commended the Bauchi State Government for allocating 16 per cent of its budget to the health sector. Dr Abdulai Kaikai, UNICEF Chief Bauchi Field Officer, gave the commendation in Gombe at the opening of a two-day capacity development workshop for legislatures in the North East, organised by UNICEF.
“I am appealing to other states in the country to emulate Bauchi state in the area of health care delivery. This will go a long way in addressing the issue of health as well as health care delivery,” he said.
Kaikai, who was represented by Mrs. Philomena Irene, Nutritional Specialist, UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, said the workshop was strategic as legislatures from the North East would review progress made on the specific action plans developed to improve maternal and child nutrition in the country.
He said malnutrition was on the increase in Nigeria, adding that recently multiple indicators cluster survey report showed that in 2016 wasting in children increased from 24 per cent to 31.5 per cent while stunting increased from 34.8 to 43.6 per cent.
“The Northern part of the country appears to be the worse with nearly half of all children dead related to poor nutrition,” he said.
He said every child has a fundamental right to food and nutrition, to ensure survival and development of society. “Addressing nutrition is of importance for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, with emphasis on those related to hunger, child maternal health as well as food security,” he said.
According to him, investing in nutrition is cost effective but it will go a long way in reversing the negative trends. He further stressed that 2017 world Bank report showed that every N1, 000 invested on nutrition will yield N16, 000 return.
Malam Ibrahim Bello, the Chairman, Bauchi State House of Assembly Committee on Health, described the workshop as positive development. “The full complement of lawmakers from Bauchi in attendance showed our commitment to improve health care delivery,” he said.
He said the workshop, organised by the legislative network for Universal Health Coverage, UHC, has among other objectives, deepening the understanding of legislation on health financing a well as UHC and developing legislative health agenda.
Alhaji Nasiru Nono, Speaker, Gombe State House of Assembly, appealed to the participants to make meaningful contributions towards the improvement of health care delivery. Nono, who was represented by the House Leader, Mr. Amos Fabalous, assured UNICEF that the parliament would do everything humanly possible in Gombe to ensure health care delivery.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that 40 legislators from the North East sub region attended the programme. NAN